As mentioned in previous blogs, I am a Berkshire County native. At the risk of sounded redundant, this will be another entry professing my love for this region #sorrynotsorry.
Recently Heirlooom Fire was asked to participate in The Berkshire Wedding Tour. The tour focuses on venues and wedding caterers in the berkshires. This year attendees hailed from New England, New York City and The Hudson Valley, though in past years the attendees haves traveled from different corners of the country.
The Berkshire Wedding Tour focuses on bringing wedding industry professionals to The Berkshires and showcasing the beauty of my beloved home town. Over the course of 4 days, the guests are put up at The Red Lion Inn and Cranwell. Each day the guests were set up to tour various Berkshire wedding venues and each night ended with a meal by Berkshires wedding caterers.
The ultimate goal of the tour is to bring more business to The Berkshires as it really is such a beautiful area with so much range.
Heirloom Fire was asked to prepare the dinner for the second night at Mass MoCa. I was very excited to work in such an interesting and different place. Typically we set up our kitchen in sprawling fields or adjacent to historic mansions filled with rich history. This time our surroundings were lots of brick and upside down maple trees! However, Mass MoCa is the former home to the Sprauge Electric Company, so it is not short of history at all.
It was autumn, so I wanted to have those flavors reflect on the menu. I knew I wanted to showcase beautiful ducks from the Hudson Valley and then build the meal around that. I decided to go with a 3 course menu to showcase the versatility of Heirloom Fire.
I always like to start dinners with a a plated first course to use what is really special right at that moment. I checked in my my friends at MX Morning Star Farm over in Copake NY to see what was growing. After the frost, a lot of crops take a pounding and fade away. Some more resilient crops make a comeback; insert curly cress. The heat that this green brings is a welcome refreshment when we get into heavy autumn and winter flavors. I paired the pepper cress with a Beet and Sumac cured red snapper, poached farm egg, green meat radishes, red belle radishes and locally grown sweet potatoes.
While we were spinning the ducks outside, we collected the drippings to cook the sunchokes in and simmered polenta with preserved corn and cultivated mushrooms.
Next course was served is our version of “family style”.
We use 5 foot long planks of wood as our edible, communal centerpiece. In the middle of the board we lay down a bed of fragrant herbs such as thyme, rosemary and sage and rest the duck on top. I made sure to collect the last of the season concord grapes before the frost, roast them with fresh herbs and make them into a syrup that I would later make into a sauce to accompany the ducks at Mass MoCa.
Alongside the duck, we laid down the 3 other sides.
-Ash Roasted Beets, Winter Squashes, Foraged Black Walnuts with Brown Butter Vinagrette
-Wood Grilled Brussels Sprouts with Sunchokes and Pickled Heirloom Apples.
-Heritage Corn Polenta with Preserved Summer Corn and Mushrooms in small cast iron cauldrons.
My front of house team carried the planks out to the farm style tables and sat them on top of small wooden stumps that had been worked into the table design; This makes for a fun and surprising presentation. Guests sat in a corridor with a beautiful backdrop installation of a wilderness setting as they passed plates and broke bread.
Our last course we served was a simple Plum Ricotta Tart. I collected the last of the season black plums and poached them in an Earl Grey syrup that I steeped from Harney and Sons Teas. The dough consisted of ricotta cheese that I made from Blue Hill Farm raw, grass fed milk, olive oil, honey and flour. We Served this along freshly hand ground (on-site) No. 6 Depot coffee.
At the end of the party, the guests left with a fire branded box enclosing a handcrafted Finocchiona sausage, something to remember Heirloom Fire by :)
I had such a nice time collaborating with Classical Tents and Party Goods (wedding rentals),Tara Consolati (Co-Chair of the Berkshire wedding tour and wedding planner), Magdalena Events (wedding planning, service and coordination), Daisy Stone Studio (flowers and decor), Christopher Duggan Photography (wedding photographer ), Rob Alberti (wedding lighting) DJ BFG (wedding DJ) and of course Mass MoCa (wedding venue).